Contents page 1 — It doesn’t always have Russia be page 2 — “China has no human rights agenda” On a page

No colorful advertising, no fancy corporate logos – it is the President’s will, the Belarusian capital in the new industrial Park near Minsk: “triggered, confirmed, executed, and implemented with the Ukas of the President of the Republic of Belarus from 12. May 2017”. The big blue writing on chalkboard is written in Cyrillic and in Chinese.

The autocrat Alexander Lukashenko wants to back his country closer to China and the Chinese-Belarusian project in Great Stone industrial Park at the airport of Minsk is at the heart of this strategy. Here, where formerly dense forests of tall pine trees and birches were half an hour’s drive from Minsk, today the wide streets in the no-man’s land hit. At the entrance, a long red Banner is stretched. “Time is money, efficiency is everything,” it says. In Chinese and Russian.

currently, the ideas are no longer, sends an employee to the Great Stone, as he shows to the visitors a few meters further on the model of the industrial Park at a scale of one to 500. But since Lukashenko has approved the plans personally, it will be hoarded in the model here, in the harsh neon light of a container, such as a relic.

is A Banner in front of the industrial Park Great stone: “time is money, efficiency is everything.” © Simone Brunner

factories, blocks of flats and halls in miniature, the walls of the container are lined with photos of the handshake between Lukashenko and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Up to 30 billion US dollars is to be invested on a surface area of 112.5 square kilometers – roughly the size of Kiel–. On a flat screen you can click through the animations. He does not display the time of Minsk. But the from Beijing.

The last dictator in Europe

At first glance, China and Belarus as positive allies appear. Both countries have denied after the collapse of the Soviet Union consistently political liberalisation and ruled until today dictatorial. Economically, Belarus maintained its Soviet roots, up to 80 percent of the assets of the economy are still controlled by the state. Democratic experiments has allowed Lukashenko, who leads the country since 1994 with a heavy Hand, the KGB and the death penalty. A hardness, which has earned him the reputation of being the last dictator in Europe.

Financially, Belarus, Russia Union state, dependent on Moscow, and over scars again and again the state is bankrupt. That is also why Lukashenko to China, where a state-directed capitalism allowed the country to power without democracy, a global economic upgrade. It means that Lukashenko’s 14-year-old son, Nikolai, is being touted as his successor, and therefore speaks fluent Mandarin.

no advertising, No Logos – only the Ukase by the President of Belarus for the Minsk industrial Park © Simone Brunner

Already at the airport, you can’t ignore China because it is out in Russian and English, more recently with Chinese characters marked. In the city of Chinese Hotels, and shopping malls in the height will be taken. Since this summer, only EU citizens, but also to Chinese citizens for 30 days without a visa to Belarus travel. In addition to the Soviet slogans (“The heroes of our people’s deeds are immortal!”) crown, increasingly, Huawei-neon signs of the massive Stalin of the capital buildings.

The Belarusian Anatoly Tosik is one of the architects of this Alliance. The 69-Year-old was five years Ambassador to China, and has come across as a Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister (2010-2014) a lot of Chinese projects. Today he is head of the language Institute of Confucius at the State University in Minsk. The red lanterns are there in the musty corridors of the Sowjetbaus. In his office, he gives Chinese tea and sweets.